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Remus2004
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 70399
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hi,I am a student in the uk and currently rent a room in

Customer Question

Hi,
I am a student in the uk and currently rent a room in a student house (assurred shorthold tenancy). Due to unforseen circumstances I have to go home now. According to the tenancy agreement in this case I have to find an approriate replacement tenant so that I am off the hook ( the agreement does not elaborate on the term "appropriate")
I found someone but my landlord and two co-tenants refused him saying that his age (he is 49) does not fit the other tenants age and that he is simply too old. I understand that a tenant can be refused on reasonable grounds but I don't see how his age could, as the landlord presumes, lead to conflicts in the house espacially since this is mainly a mature student house and make him therefore unsuitable. I was now wondering if it is legal to refuse a prospective tenant because of his age and I am thinking of how to proceed and follow the advice of two authorities I've already spoken to and both urged me to simply terminate the tenancy and stop paying my rent and demand my deposit back since I have done my duty and if the landlord refuses someone on unreasonable grounds it cannot be my fault.
Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Do you have anything in writing that this person is too old, email or something?

Who told you to stop paying rent?
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.

If your name is ***** ***** tenancy agreement then each tenant named on the agreement is jointly and severally liable for the full amount of the rent. If one person stops paying, the others pick up the tab for the person who is not paying.

A landlord would therefore chase the easiest target who are the other tenants who are still in the property. It depends where “home” is as to whether it’s then worth the landlord and the other students pursuing you.

From a landlord’s point of view you do have to continue to pay rent. From the student’s point of view, they are unreasonably refusing a new tenant and they actually have no right to do that. The landlord could refuse a new tenant if he didn’t think that new tenant was good for the rent.

However that doesn’t appear to be an issue because the problem here you say is the new students age. If you have anything saying that in an email so much the better. Otherwise it’s your word against theirs if they deny age being consideration.

Prior to 1 October 2012 age discrimination only applied in the workplace but since then amendments to the Equality act 2010 extended this ban to cover services (I think this comes under the heading of services), public functions and private clubs and associations. By doing this therefore they are in breach of the Act.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
You distinguished between the landlords point of view and students point of view. However I believe in this case it is a mutual matter since the landlord first brought the age issue up and two housemates then used this as a reason to convince the landlord not to accept the tenant.
So if I stop paying my rent and she therefore keeps my deposit saying that I breach the contract, there will be a good chance that a judge will decide in my favour.
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.

It does not matter whether it’s the other students the landlord that are doing this, it is still the provision of services.

If you stop paying the rent and if he keeps deposit in lieu of rent you have still breached the contract to pay rent.

If you take him to court to get the deposit back the judge may decide that the correct course of action for you was not to stop paying rent but was to apply to court for an injunction to prevent him discriminating. That is actually the correct remedy but it becomes far more convoluted, complicated and potentially expensive